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npm-install(1) -- install a package


npm install (with no args in a package dir)
npm install <tarball file>
npm install <tarball url>
npm install <folder>
npm install <name>
npm install <name>@<tag>
npm install <name>@<version>
npm install <name>@<version range>


This command installs a package, and any packages that it depends on.

A package is:

  • a) a folder containing a program described by a package.json file
  • b) a gzipped tarball containing (a)
  • c) a url that resolves to (b)
  • d) a <name>@<version> that is published on the registry with (c)
  • e) a <name>@<tag> that points to (d)
  • f) a <name> that has a "latest" tag satisfying (e)

Even if you never publish your package, you can still get a lot of benefits of using npm if you just want to write a node program (a), and perhaps if you also want to be able to easily install it elsewhere after packing it up into a tarball (b).

  • npm install (in package directory, no arguments): Install the dependencies in the local node_modules folder.

    In global mode (ie, with -g or --global appended to the command), it installs the current package context (ie, the current working directory) as a global package.

  • npm install <folder>: Install a package that is sitting in a folder on the filesystem.

  • npm install <tarball file>: Install a package that is sitting on the filesystem. Note: if you just want to link a dev directory into your npm root, you can do this more easily by using npm link.

    In order to distinguish between this and remote installs, the argument must either be "." or contain a "/" in it.


    npm install ./package.tgz
  • npm install <tarball url>: Fetch the tarball url, and then install it. In order to distinguish between this and other options, the argument must start with "http://" or "https://"


    npm install
  • npm install <name>: Do a <name>@<tag> install, where <tag> is the "tag" config. (See npm help config)


    npm install sax
  • npm install <name>@<tag>: Install the version of the package that is referenced by the specified tag. If the tag does not exist in the registry data for that package, then this will fail.


    npm install sax@stable
  • npm install <name>@<version>: Install the specified version of the package. This will fail if the version has not been published to the registry.


    npm install sax@0.1.1
  • npm install <name>@<version range>: Install a version of the package matching the specified version range. This will follow the same rules for resolving dependencies described in npm help json.

    Note that most version ranges must be put in quotes so that your shell will treat it as a single argument.


    npm install sax@">=0.1.0 <0.2.0"

You may combine multiple arguments, and even multiple types of arguments. For example:

npm install sax@">=0.1.0 <0.2.0" bench supervisor

The --tag argument will apply to all of the specified install targets.

The --force argument will force npm to fetch remote resources even if a local copy exists on disk.

npm install sax --force

The --global argument will cause npm to install the package globally rather than locally. See npm help global.

The --link argument will cause npm to link global installs into the local space in some cases.

See npm help config. Many of the configuration params have some effect on installation, since that's most of what npm does.


  • npm-config(1)
  • npm-build(1)
  • npm-registry(1)
  • npm-build(1)
  • npm-link(1)
  • npm-folders(1)
  • npm-tag(1)
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